How to see Actual Print Size On Your Monitor in Microsoft Word

After many struggles trying to see my books and novels at actual print size in my Microsoft Word document, I did the following:

  1. Turn on “Rulers” in Microsoft Word under “View” in the menu at the top. There’s a check box for “Rulers” under the “View” tab at the top. Now you can see your page’s dimensions in inches.
  2. Next you will need to customize your printer property settings by adding your custom printed page dimensions if they are not listed for your printing device. Go to “File” > “Print” in Microsoft Word. Find your printer in the list and choose “Print Properties”. In the dialog box you must find the “Paper” or “Paper/Quality” tab and add your custom print size in inches if it’s not listed in the drop down. In my case, I added a 6″ x 9″ print page value. You may have to add it and then click “ok” and open it again to see if it is there as a custom print page setting. Until you do this Microsoft Word will not allow your page to show the custom size in its “Page Layout” listing, as it is not yet an available print page size choice, which is controlled by your printer.
  3. Click “ok” and close the print property box. In Microsoft Word choose “Page Layout” > “Size”, and you will see your “Custom 6 x 9” (or whatever size layout you added) listed there as a custom print size. Choose it. Now your ruler should show your printed page’s actual size in inches relevant to the ruler. You can now begin to verify your layout versus the actual print size dimensions. But, your screen is not yet matching the actual size of the printed page.
  4. Now “How do you now show the Actual Print Size of your Page on your Monitor or Computer Screen“? Good question! That it turns out is almost impossible (but see solution below) as far as quality goes, mainly because of the fact print often uses 300 dots per inch printing versus windows monitors which often use 96 dpi. On Mac its 72 I believe. So even if you scaled your document to get the actual inches on-screen as in print, the quality would be worse on-screen. In addition, Microsoft Word and most software still cannot connect those screen sizes to all the custom print driver sizes, which vary by manufacturer. Too many variables, I guess.
  5. But the next best SOLUTION I found to this problem was easy! Simply go and “Scale” your Word document manually until it matches your custom page using a wooden ruler compared to your documents ruler. You will use your Word “Ruler” you just added to the display to compare the real measure of an inch on your wooden ruler. You scale your printable page in Microsoft Word by choosing “View” > “Zoom” and slowly increase the document until your physical ruler matches the ruler in Microsoft Word. In my case I had to increase zoom in Microsoft Word to about 116%, tweaking it until the two rulers matched. I also set my doc to “One Page” in the View tab area so I’m looking at just one page, which helps. That’s it!

Now your Microsoft Word page looks almost EXACTLY as the actual print view, and with the custom print setting of your page! The only difference you cannot control is the quality…..the pixelated fonts in typical Windows PC screens is pixellated at 96 dpi compared to the 300-600 dpi in print, so it will look grainy. You can expect better printed versions of your doc on a high quality printer versus the print view in Microsoft Word. But at least now you have a clearer idea what to expect, going from computer monitor to print version.

Hope that helps everyone!

– the Author

Would you consider reading my new fantasy novel,  “Phantammeron Book One”  ?



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